A Fine Chardonnay from Millbrook of Duchess County

Milbrook Chardonnay

Chardonnay is produced all over the world, and by most measures the most popular grape, yet it has so many flavor profiles depending on where and how it is made.

You have the big oaky buttery style so popular from California, to dry light steely Chablis from France. Tasting them together you might conclude they are totally different grapes, but they are not. There are scores of variations from all points of the globe Australia to Uruguay.

A fine dinner made on the grill in my favorite big cast iron skillet of local chicken and vegetables from the market deserved a perfect wine like this, and the Millbrook Chardonnay was just right.

Skillet Chicken Roast on the GrillIt is produced in an oaked and unoaked version and in a Proprietors Special Reserve. This was the oaked style and presents a gentle buttery flavor with the crisp apple, apricot, and honeysuckle flavors, but like a French wine has lots of distinct minerality that we love. It paired well with the robust flavors of the brined and browned chicken and the caramelized vegetables.

It was missing the sweet cloying almost candy flavors you find in some lower quality mass produced Chardonnay. Which we can’t stand.

Millbrook Winery has been producing wine in the Hudson Valley since 1985, it has been  called “the Hudson Valley’s flagship winery” by The New York Times and “a great place to visit” by The Wall Street Journal.

Read this recent article on the current vintage on New York Cork Report. Millbrook Vineyards’ “Local Juice” — Then and Now.

Millbrook Winery

26 Wing Road
Millbrook, NY 12545

Chicken from Marbled Meat Shop Cold Spring

Vegetables and herbs from Cold Spring Farmers Market and our own garden.



A Gem of a Wine Shop in Peekskill – Dylan’s Wine Cellar

Dylan's Wine Cellar Main Room

I’ve been curious by this intriguing wine shop since our first visit to Peekskill almost a year ago. The timing was never right and it looked so high-end. Well the opportunity to check this place out came a couple of nights ago after dinner at the fun new Taco Dive Bar across the street.

We were greeted by the friendly smile of owner Steven Zwick who opened this shop with his wife Maribel Almonte-Zwick a few years ago naming it after their son Dylan. By my estimation Steven is very meticulous and assiduous about selecting wines for his store.  I found six that I look forward to tasting very soon. This observation is borne out by their “Best of Westchester 2015” award.

The store is small but very well organized.  The main room has wine displayed by predominant varietal Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah what have you. There are great values and premium priced offerings. Periodic discounts and generous half and full case discounts are offered, as well as special discounts for Peekskill Metro-North commuters.

Created in the historic Standard House Dylan’s maintains an old world charm. In the second room wines by country are found and an ample selection of spirits which includes my favorite vermouth Carpano Antica at the lowest price anywhere in the area.

Dylan's Wine Cellar Second Room

We picked these six wines and I will tell you why.

Dylan's Wine Cellar Six WinesFrom left to right, all these wines were under $20, a couple much less than that. We are happy to splurge on an expensive bottle of something great, but for everyday drinking, which we do pretty much every day, we like to stay under $15. Some of these were below that.

The first is a McLaren Vale, 90+ Cellars Lot 37 Shiraz.   Mclaren Vale is our favorite Australian wine region, it is a place where people live free, express themselves with joy and make great wine in giant concrete vats. This one is said to have “Inky in color with seductive aromas of spicy dark fruit and perfumed plums. The wine is full-bodied, round, and juicy with subtle trails of vanilla in the finish. You’ll love this wine with savory short ribs, hearty stews, or a juicy cheeseburger off the grill.”  Most any Shiraz would be great with these summer and autumn foods and we have high hopes for this one.

The second is a Primitivo from Puglia, Italy.  We love this wine that is argued to be the same as Zinfandel. We drank a lot of it during our last trip to Italy that took us to Puglia, and a lot since then, but the last three we have tried, purchased in Hudson Valley wine shops have failed to thrill. We pray this one breaks our bad luck streak, we will let you know.

The third Diana picked for the colorful graphics of the label. Her dad who is visiting in a few days loves Tempranillo,  this one from Ribera del Guadiana, was under $10 why not give it a try.  I think I’ll put together some tapas including some of the great chorizo that they make over at Marbled Meat Shop.

Wine number four, an Inzolia, another love we brought back from Italy. It is produced on the island of Sicily and barely anywhere else. It is hard to find on this side of the Atlantic and we grab it whenever we see it. Firriato is a great winemaker there and we are looking forward to tasting this soon.

Lat night we tasted and absolutely loved the fifth wine, Loveblock.  Ever hear of Kim Crawford of New Zealand? The man who helped make NZ Sauvignon Blanc and international sensation? Well a few years ago he sold his winery for a ton of dough, and it continues to make great wine. See our recent review here Hello Again Kim Crawford. This wine is the result of Erica and husband Kim Crawford’s recent work and it is spectacular, perhaps one of the best Sav Blancs we have ever tasted, and we have enjoyed many of the best.

Last but not least is a curious Italian wine from the Basilicata region, a dry Muscat. The grape is most often used for sweet wines we enjoy and we look forward to tasting it in a dry variety. Basilicata, is way down in the southern extreme of Italy, and is the site of the great volcano Mount Vulture. The volcanic soil is great for wine grape growing and the sunny climate is just perfect as well.

In closing I should mention that Dylan’s carries a nice selection of New York wines too. We like that.

Check back for more discussion on these wines. And do go buy some at Dylan’s Wine Cellar.

Dylan’s Wine Cellar
50 Hudson Ave.
Peekskill NY 10566
Phone: 914-930-8003



A Chilean Wine with Roots in the Hudson Valley

Casa Patronales Maucho  Carignan

I love wines with a story and this one has one to tell.  Made with a grape that Ampelographers consider came from  Cariñena, Aragon and was later transplanted to Sardinia where it is used to make one of my very favorite wines, Carignano del Sulcis.

Over the centuries, and especially in the last few decades, this grape has been planted in France, Algeria, Australia, California, much of the “New World.” Maucho Carignan comes from the lush Maule Valley in Chile, from Casa Patronales a prominent vineyard that has unique ties to the Hudson Valley. The families of Castro and Chadwick who built Casa Patronales along with Cesar Baeza own the oldest still operating North American winery, Hudson Valley’s own Brotherhood Winery.brotherhood_winery_cellars_1 Continue reading A Chilean Wine with Roots in the Hudson Valley


Hudson Valley meets Alexander Valley and Tom Gore Wines

Tom Gore WinesI think Hudson Valley and the Alexander Valley should sister valleys, you know like sister cities. They both have a rich history, a deep connection to farming and both home to some very good wine makers. Both named after brave early settlers.

Some weeks ago UPS delivered a wonderful gift from one of Alexander Valley’s most beloved farmers, Tom Gore. A rustic wooden box filled with goodies and three of Tom’s exciting wines. It took us some time, waiting for the right moment to enjoy each bottle, and now the are done. Luckily these wines seem to be available on the east coast as we are anxious to enjoy them again. Continue reading Hudson Valley meets Alexander Valley and Tom Gore Wines


We Love Lugana Wine,
I Bet You Will To

sirmioneNear the magical commune of Sirmione in the province of Brescia, Lombardy, northern Italy, there is a wine region called Lugana where fervent winemakers produce exquisite white wines that bear this name.

We first visited this beautiful place and enjoyed the wine some 30 years ago, and have been longing to return ever since.  The wine however we have enjoyed often and had the exciting opportunity to taste many at an event at Eataly in New York where it is Lugana month until the end of July.  More Here

At Viscount Wine and Liquors this weekend we found three very good Luganas and bought two.  If you like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, even unoaked Chardonnay you will love these wines.  More in “For the Love of Lugana” Continue reading We Love Lugana Wine,
I Bet You Will To


How About a Box of Wine for Your Next Hudson Valley Picnic

Two Box Wines

Wine in a box really makes sense, friendly to the earth,  reduces cost and are so convenient. A nice portable resealable box travels so nicely for a picnic.

Unfortunately, most box wines are not all that good. Sorry, no offence to those who like them.  I tasted these two reds, the Bota Box RedVolution a California blend and a true Italian, 100% Sangiovese. Both are available nearby, one I really liked. Continue reading How About a Box of Wine for Your Next Hudson Valley Picnic


SherryFest Comes to Beacon at Artisan Wine Shop

Sherry Fest NYC Pour

The last time you had sherry was probably as an ingredient in a recipe. You may even have a bottle on a shelf somewhere.  May I make a suggestion? Throw that old bottle away, it is spoiled. Go to your nearest fine wine store and buy some good sherry, we recommend Artisan Wines in Beacon. Try a few, demi-sec or dry, you will love them.

This weekend in New York City is SherryFest, a huge event that celebrates and promotes the exciting resurgence of this wonderful but much maligned Spanish fortified wine. A wonderful drink that is enjoying a huge surge in popularity as many great sherry makers of old and new are turning out better and better quality. You can go to SherryFest or stop by Artisan for their Saturday tasting. Continue reading SherryFest Comes to Beacon at Artisan Wine Shop